Sunday, October 10, 2010


After the string of terrible horror movies I’ve been reviewing all month, I felt I needed a bit of a palette cleanser, so to speak, by choosing one that I actually had a lot of confidence in. I therefore decided on writer-director Adam Green’s first of two movies he released this year (the second being Hatchet 2, which I unfortunately didn’t manage to see in theaters the day it was around), which turned out quite well for me, as it’s easily the best horror movie of the year (possible contenders I haven‘t seen yet notwithstanding).

The film follows a trio of friends (Kevin Zegers, Emma Bell, and Shawn Ashmore) going on a skiing trip, convince the guy running the ski lift to let them on one last time when the resort’s trying to close up, and wind up being stuck on the lift in mid-air as the resort closes down and everyone else leaves until the next weekend. The rest of the movie is just the three of them stuck there, with a storm coming, frostbite setting in, and wolves prowling below, trying to figure out a way to free themselves.

So yes, for the most part it’s one of those “one location” horror movies, much like the film Buried currently in theaters, which, depending on the skill of everyone involved, can either make for an incredibly tense film, or an unbearably dull one. Fortunately, everyone really brings their A game to this, giving us what is arguably Adam Green’s best film to date (again, with the caveat that I have not yet seen Hatchet 2), and all with surprisingly little blood for an R rated movie.

The main trio of actors do their jobs well, really nailing the emotional portions of the film. The highlight for me was when they began discussing the things they had left at home, and Parker (Bell) starts crying because she had left her new puppy at home, and without anyone to care for it it was just going to starve thinking she had abandoned it. I know I certainly would be pretty upset about leaving any pets behind when I die, that’s why I plan on killing them first.

Some will no doubt compare this with the film Open Water, which is probably the most famous recent example of a “one location” horror. In that one, of course, a couple that went scuba diving gets left behind by their cruise ship, and they spend the next 70 minutes floating there and bitching at each other until they die. Here the characters behave a bit more intelligently, terrified yet willing to try to do whatever they can to avert their fate, whether it be attempting to jump down to the ground below or attempting to shimmy across the wire holding the lifts up to get to an emergency ladder. That these efforts frequently turn to disaster is beside the point; what we have is a bit of a rarity in a horror movie -- characters that, when faced with a terrible situation, actually behave intelligently in trying to save themselves. This is a far cry from, say, the characters in Skeeter, whose primary means of defending themselves tend to be getting locked in cars and screaming a lot.

I really can’t say enough good things about this film. It’s the sort of movie even non-horror fans can get into (though die-hard wolf apologists may take issue). It’s exciting, clever, oozing with tension, and just straight up looks beautiful. You all owe it to yourselves to check this one out.

Rating: ****

1 comment:

katsucurrys14 said...

devoured by dogs. ridiculous in canton